One day, when Bubba was seven, we shared an unforgettable conversation.
While I trimmed his hair, he asked me, “Do you know the story about God and the leopards?”
“No, tell me.”
“I don’t understand it, so I can’t tell you. I wanted you to tell me.”
“I don’t know it.”
“Yes you do. It’s in The Bible.”
“Do you mean Daniel and the lion’s den?”
“No. That’s different.”
“Do you mean how God sent the lions to scare and eat people so they would learn to fear Him?”
He looked up at me, wide-eyed with disbelief, “No. Not lions. Leopards.”
I thought long and hard.
“You mean how the leopard cannot change his spots, like man can’t change his skin? Cause that’s really a metaphor.”
I could only think of things like the speed of leopards and scary leopard parts from the monsters of Revelations, which surely they do not cover in Sunday school, even at Mamaw’s church. Right? Right?!?
“I dunno what you’re talkin about. You should ask Daddy. Or like, use the index to find leopards in Bible and then show me.”
(Teacher mommies are always askin people to use indexes and dictionaries like that.)
Well that suggestion only made him mad. Frustrated, he said to me, “God was nice to the leopards, when no one else would touch them or wash them, and they had to live all alone because people were scared of them. God was nice to them and cleaned them.”
I struggled to piece together his story.
Of course, I’m a visual person, so I imagined God with buckets of soapy water and a large sponge, washin leopards like cars…
I thought and thought like mad.
“OH! You mean Jesus and the lepers!?”
“Okay!” I said, relieved. After a hardy chuckle, I explained leprosy, which pleased him no end, because the story finally made sense.
Someday I’ll tell you about the time my nephew asked me about killing babies at Christmas, which is another fabulous Bible story.